Sun-dried black tea, also known as ‘shai hong’ is made based on a different processing method than mainstream black teas. Most black teas are made letting the leaves wither, followed by rolling and fermentation. However, for Shai Hong the last step is different. While the most common way is to roast the black tea leaves to stop the fermentation, for a sun-dried black tea, the fermentation is stopped by drying the leaves in the sun (as it’s done for pu erh).
‘Pu Erh Shai Hong’ or ‘Tai He Tian Cha’?
Because tea types are classified based on their processing method, a sun dried black tea can also be considered a type between black and pu erh tea. This is why it’s not strange that sun dried black are also known as ‘pu erh shai hong .
The after taste of a Shai Hong is sweet and because it originates from Tai He, it’s also known as ‘Tai He Sweet Tea’ or ‘Tai He Tian Cha’ (太和甜茶).
Note that the black tea cake on this page is however made from wild tree leaves from Yiwu.
Storage Tips for Best Long-term Aging
Because this type of black tea is sun-dried, it’s considered suitable for long-term storage. Due to this feature, it’s also often compressed into cakes. It’s said that the longer it’s stored the better the flavour. Below some tips for storage:
- Store dry in a well ventilated room;
- Avoid direct sunlight and bad odors;
- At room temperature (20-30ºC / 70-85ºF)
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